After Rep. Ayanna Pressley unveiled her hair loss last month, many supported the congresswoman.
But Pressley’s reveal of her alopecia – an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss – and her consequent bald head also made her the subject of online bullying, with some people calling her “Mr. Clean.”
Massachusetts’ first black congresswoman hit back at critics Thursday, though, posting a selfie on Twitter along with a letter to her “trolls.”
“Dear Trolls,” her tweet began. “You really think I look like “Mr. Clean” ? Please. He never looked THIS clean. Sorry not sorry my unapologetically rockin’ my crown triggers you. Proud #alopecian”
Fellow congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voiced her support, telling Pressley not to pay them any mind.
“They’re just mad because you pull off any & every look thrown at you, meanwhile they can’t even put on a hat on their head without looking like baby peanut,” she wrote.
Though Pressley’s Senegalese twists had become strongly associated with the congresswoman, she opened up in a video published by The Root about how she had begun noticing significant hair loss.
On the eve of the House’s impeachment of President Donald Trump, the last bit of her hair finally fell out, she said. She spent some time experimenting with wigs to hide the loss, but the look didn’t quite fit.
“Right now on this journey, when I feel the most unlike myself is when I am wearing a wig,” she said.
All of this lead to her deciding to go public with her baldness.
For those unfamiliar with the disease, alopecia areata develops when the body attacks its own hair follicles, according to the Academy of Dermatology. The disease affects more than 6 million people in the US alone, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.